Sunday, March 23, 2014

Muscle Club Apparel Photo Shoot - New Orleans

First off, let me start by saying Jeff and Nicola, the owners of Muscle Club Apparel are awesome! 
Point blank. As many of you know, I was selected as the male winner in the 2014 spokesmodel contest for Muscle Club Apparel fitness clothing! Thank you so much for bringing me this far!
They completely exceeded my expectations for the trip and gave me the VIP treatment, totally making me feel like a star! I'll be smiling for months from this alone! :D
Thanks again!
They made the experience even more enjoyable by being such genuinely nice, friendly people!
It's always good making new friends! I am so glad to be a part of their company as well, as I honestly think they have some of the best designs out there and I look forward to helping them expand in any direction I can help with.

I flew in to New Orleans Fri afternoon and met them downstairs in the hotel lobby the following morning at 8:30 am to kick it off!
Nicola joked how she was relieved that I was actually
the same guy who was in the pictures that were sent to her for the contest. LOL.
I should have sent in some really fat guy from the street to mess with them. 
That would have been funny! LOL
They showed me some of the new designs they had coming out and then we packed up and went to meet the photographer up the street. 

New Orleans is a really cool city with a lot of history and things to see. Jeff and Nicola have used this location before and were well prepared with rolling wagons and carrying cases. We even had a boom box for Pandora which made it even more fun! When we rolled onto Bourbon St. the crowd was anticipating a performance! I should have put a tip jar out! 

The photographer Edward Legar  did a really great job of finding the perfect shot locations and angles. He also knew the city really well and as the day went on I could pick up on his authentic Luisiana accent! He worked really great with Jeff and we knocked out quite a few great looking shots within the first 30 minutes. We got another shot on Bourbon St with one of their new designs "Nice Snatch." That definitely got some comments! We were in the right place for them too hahahahaha standing in front of a place selling hand grenade drinks! (Those looked good! Especially with me being so dehydrated trying to stay dry.)
I remember also being warned not to set my bags down on the "water." :D 

Gym Shoot

Jeff had a friend at an Anytime Fitness in the area that was nice enough to let us use her gym for the second part of the day. Here, I was back in my element! :D We got some really great shots in here doing some pull-ups, bent rows, and bicep curls among others. I had to take my shirt off at least once for the camera!!! (Little did I know how rowdy Bourbon street later that night would be! lol)

After the shoot we were all starving and went straight to a place called Drago's for lunch. OMG!

Drago's had the most amazing grilled oysters! I've had steamed before but the butter and garlic made these so good I had to go back in for more with the breadsticks. The gator bites were also very very good. Oh and I had a Guinness too. Best post shoot meal ever! 

They had healthy food there too! I found an awesome pho place right next to the hotel.


Nicola's sister and mother joined us for dinner and drinks at a fantastic restaurant called Tableau. The restaurant was incredible and everyone was so much fun, they had me laughing the whole night! I took my father's advice and got the BBQ Shrimp and grits. Good call Dad! 

On our way to the next stop, we walked right into a wedding group making their way down the street. Apparently in New Orleans this is a regular occurrence! 

After dinner we HAD to see Burboun St! I grew up in Morgantown, WV which is known as being one of the biggest party schools in the country so its hard to phase me, but I have to admit, even for me this was pretty wild, especially with it being just an ordinary Sat night. I can't even imagine  Mard Gras!
The city had plenty of hidden gems tucked away including this cozy restaurant, perfect for a romantic date or a really good strong drink.

Nicola did a good job of setting me up with the bridesmaids who seemed to be everywhere and even showed me how to earn some beads! :)

Thanks again for the amazing trip and opportunity to work with you two and your company! 
I really appreciate it. I'll be back! 


Men's and Women's clothing and accessories!

Sunday, March 9, 2014



As I prepare for my upcoming photo shoots, I am constantly searching for new ways to help me in my fight against hunger. Dropping body fat and cutting weight is not easy, especially when you wait till the last minute like I tend to do. Crash course diets will only leave you rebounding and gaining weight back immediately after you go back to normal life. I have compiled a list of 10 of my favorite items that I have stumbled upon in my quest to stay shredded.

Raw Fiber (Garden of Life) – 1 scoop added to your oatmeal in the morning and another scoop at night will CLEAN YOU OUT! Be careful when first starting this supplement. You have been warned! I would recommend starting with ¼ scoop at first so you don’t have to abruptly excuse yourself from morning appointments. LOL

Cucumbers – These have a natural appetite suppressor in them plus the cool vegetables are a great tasting snack with a little salt and pepper.

Amino-X – This is my favorite amino acid supplement, which adds some great flavor to the large amounts of water you should be drinking to keep full and stay hydrated during your cardio sessions. Aminos keep you in an anabolic state to preserve muscle mass and when taken before meals promote protein synthesis.

Sugar Free Jello – This was my secret weapon during my prep for the 2013 Southern States competition. The gelatin was filling and tasted great! The version I found at Publix only had a few calories in each cup so I was eating 3-4 at a time.

Celery – I’m not sure if this stuff really has negative calories like its rumored to have due to the chewing, but it does take some work to chomp the stalks down and the fiber is good for you. I try to keep plenty in my fridge for when I just cant seem to curb my appetite. I’ll allow myself to eat as much as I can. Just don’t add peanut butter! In fact, don’t even buy that stuff. It’s way too dangerous to have around!

Whole Foods Fish at the hot bar – Last year I spent so much money and time buying and preparing tilapia and cod it started to get ridiculous. I was so happy to discover that Whole Foods usually has at least one white fish dish that I could count on to be healthy at their hot bar. The best part is at $8.99 / lb I was getting a great tasting prepared dish at the same price I was paying for raw fish. This was a no brainer since I hate cooking fish and my dishes never seem to taste as good.

MCT Oil – My prep coach Dexter Jackson introduced me to this. When you are cutting carbs, at adding in extra fat to take the place of the missing calories, this is the best stuff you can get. It will actually trick your body into burning more fat as fuel and that’s a very good thing!

Frozen cherries – First, cherries are very low on the glycemic index so they wont spike your insulin like other fruits. Second, they have pits, which require you to slow down your eating so you don’t choke. Lastly, when they are frozen, you are forced to slow down your eating even more. WIN, WIN, WIN!

Walden Farms condiments – This company makes ZERO CALORIE chocolate syrup! Enough said! LOL. They also make some pretty good zero calorie salad dressings. My favorite is the chipotle ranch. I add that to shredded chicken with my low carb wraps and make some pretty tasty tacos!

Syntha 6 / Egg White / Oatmeal – This is my breakfast almost every single day since it is so quick and easy to make and tastes so damn good. I mix BSN Syntha 6 protein powder in with my oats and some water and microwave for 1 minute. Then I stir in some egg whites and even powdered greens and that fiber I mentioned before and microwave for 2 more minutes, stirring halfway through. The Vanilla Cake batter tastes amazing and the whole thing is very filling. It may look disgusting (especially with the greens added) but try it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how good, and healthy it is!

Nature’s Way AQUA SLENDER hunger control drink mix – I haven’t had enough time with this to really test it but I picked some up at the grocery store today and it seems promising. At $10 it might be worth a shot.

This is my new favorite toy! I love it! Review coming soon....

Thomas Murphy, CSCS, Pn1


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